Why is it that when business people are taught about creativity, they start to create voraciously?! Writing poems, painting, singing, writing songs? You wouldn’t think that the pinnacle of business excellence is when the person could take some time off and pursue creative endeavors? But maybe that is the pinnacle, and maybe it should be.

Did you read the WSJ cover article last week about Peter Muller, the Morgan Stanley quant trader who took years off to do creative things, including writing songs and playing music in the NYC subway… the WSJ had a quote something along the lines of “if anyone had known that this particular subway musician was worth millions…”

Why is it that Mike Csikszentmihalyi, the creator of the concept and author of the book Flow, says that creativity is important? Is creativity important to flow? Why does creativity become so important along so many lines?

Maybe it’s because of this…

“I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. And that too is a deed.”
~ Etty Hillesum

Here is Etty’s quote bio from the Daily quote list:

About Etty Hillesum
Etty Hillesum, less famous than her contemporary, Anne Frank, lived a short life of great courage. She was born in 1914 in the Netherlands to a Dutch father and a Russian mother. She studied law, Slavic languages, and psychology. Hungry for knowledge, she cut down on food in order to buy books. She went voluntarily to the Westerbork camp to help fellow Jews interned by the Nazis. Her letters detail her experiences; her more meditative diary focuses on issues of faith. She died at Auschwitz in 1943.

Hi – our radio program originally scheduled for Monday 8-9am is postponed. This week all the programming on this channel (114) for the “Be Happy, Dammit” show will be pre-recorded replays. This has to do with the channel itself, and we will be put into a new slot later on.

This is a new change as of Sunday, 8/26…. so our program will have a new date, and we don’t know the new date yet. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.

Here is the original post about the show.


This brief list from SEO for WordPress. Love this list (I’m not always a list-person, but this one I think is just so sharp, and so representative of what it says! Bold added).

1. Good blog posts are laser-focused.
2. Good blog posts are relevant to the target audience.
3. Good blog posts are personable.
4. Good blog posts have original content.
5. Good blog posts are readable.
6. Good blog posts link to other relevant information.
7. Good blog posts have accurate, intriguing titles.

Here’s a great press release:

How to Bounce Back From ‘Google Slap Three’

First of all, I immediately ask “What on earth is Google Slap Three?” so they’ve already got me with a


Then the opening paragraph is:
IRVINE, Calif., March 13 /PRNewswire/ — Horror crossed your face this morning when you logged in to find your Google AdWords account “slapped” — with your best keywords deactivated and their minimum bids jacked up to $10.00 a click. What happened, and what can you do?

  • There’s an EMOTION (“horror”), there’s ACTION (“slapped,” “crossed your face,” “deactivated” (this is a bit boring of an action word), and “jacked up”), and there’s a QUESTION. Not bad.

Finally, the text has some strong points too:

  • It has USEABLE ADVICE (“Make your landing page ‘about’ your keywords,” “Post more unique pages”), is about something in the NEWS that recently happened, and it ADDRESSES CONCERNS about that recent news item.

In short, if you’re playing the game of writing a great press release that MATTERS TO PEOPLE, here are the three take-aways from this great press release:

  1. Make it timely to news of the day
  2. Make it address concerns readers might have
  3. Make it have concrete suggestions (actions people can take)

… And if you want this press release to also grow your business (which is the goal of most press releases IMHO)…

  • Make it link back to you effectively – for a reason
    For example, that you’re the authority on how to beat Google optimization… I’m not sure this company completely did this (see below).

BELOW SMALL COMMENT: This might be just me being picky… when I click back to www.entrepreneurpress.com, it’s their generic homepage, with no additional advice or details about the Google news release. I would imagine based on the press release that they have books that are relevant to SEO or to marketing online? And one of their pieces of advice, ironically, was to create more unique pages relevant to the keywords that people used to get to those pages. So where are their SEO advice books? As one singer would say, they don’t make ’em easy to find.

Hugh McLeod at gapingvoid has a post on using blogs to boost the bottom line, from a speech he is giving today. I especially liked the section where Hugh describes EnglishCut, a blog by a London Saville Row tailor that from inception has been all about the suits.
Hugh says in his recommendations:

Passion. Authority. Continuity. Without those three, you have nothing.

I ditto that. Fred at AVC first showed me the importance of continuity with this post.

Here is Joel on Software talking about showing Passion. Authority. Continuity. to your customers: Seven Steps to Remarkable Customer Service.

Lesson and Take-Away: All three. Passion-Authority-Continuity. All the time.

Here’s a little goofiness on being too passionate about email:
[Recommendation #]10. Reduce the amount of e-mail you receive.
OK, I’ll try. … Would everybody please send me less e-mail? … (Now I have to go see if that worked.)”
Made me laugh out loud!

Hi, here are the five things you may not know about me. I got tagged by the delightful and fun Evelyn Rodriguez.

Five Things:

1) A couple of years back, I auditioned as a dancer for the Madonna Confessions tour. She had open auditions in NYC, and there was a line around the block in the super-cold winter. I stood in line between two Rockettes (I learned you have to be 5’8″ to be Rockette). There were over 300 females auditioning. When we went in, everyone tried to warm up from the cold quickly, and the tour choreographers had four of us get on the floor at a time and dance to Madonna’s “Hollywood.” The Rockettes both went with more jazz, some girls went hiphop (which worked great to that song), a few went ballroom-dance style, and I was on the flamenco-jazz side.

2) When I was a kid, my dad taught me combinatorics using different mini-chocolates.

3) I did singing-songwriting on the folk open-mike scene. I’m a big fan of the open-mike scene in Boston. It’s a wonderful environment – you go into various clubs and perform your songs. It goes like this: they draws names from a hat to pick the order of the evening, then people go on in their order. You know most of the people in the room, and you try out different songs on the audience. Fabulouso.

4) My sport in high school was springboard diving. Loved it! Our coach used to use as his mantras, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” and “90% of this is guts.” Having done gymnastics earlier, it was great to switch to falling onto water as opposed to onto the mats.

5) I love rock-climbing and have done a multi-pitch climb (where you climb some, then reset your base in the middle of the cliff, then climb some more) only once at the Gunks. One of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

I now tag these super folks!
David Seah (uppdate: David’s list of five things! 2/1)
Dave Shearon (update: Dave’s list of five things! 1/31)
Alvaro Fernandez (update: Alvaro’s list of five things 4/1)
Alvin Soon
(update: Alvin’s list here 2/4)
Chris Harrison (update: Chris’ list of five things! 1/30)
Anna Farmery

Hi, I’ll be in Palm Springs, CA (near LA) for the weekend for the 11th annual Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology conference and its partner BrainMeeting conferences (Jan 19-22).

If you’re in the Palm Springs area, please send me an email (here), and we can figure out if we could meet up.

I’ll be giving three talks (my talks).
* Increase Three Factors Critical for Job Productivity and Enjoyment
* New Positive Psychology Results for BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION
* How Can You Increase Job Productivity and Enjoyment? (Workshop)

Let me know if you’re around.

Here are some great links. Read these! :)

IDEA: The best role of a boss.

(via Anna Farmery and via the ThoughtsPhilosophies carnival):

Robert Altman says the the role of the film director is
“to create a space where the actor or actress can become more than they’ve ever been before, more than they’ve dreamed of being”

Now if you replace actor/actress with employee…isn’t that what business is all about? You are a dream creator, a dream coach, a dream maker…..now tell me that you have no power!

IDEA: How to measure what you’ve been doing.
SOURCE: David Maister’s summary of the words of Deborah Szekely, founder of the Golden Door Spa.

(via Anna Farmery and the ThoughtsPhilosophies carnival):

Among her pearls of wisdom was the advice that, every week, we should take an hour or two to examine what we have done with our time in the previous week, marking everything in one of five colors.

* Green would be used for anything that was a challenging growth experience
* Black would be used for things that were a waste of time
* Blue should be used for things that could have been delegated (even if the other person could only do it 85% as well as you could.)
* Red would represent something you did that was a deposit for your health
* and your own favorite color would be used for time spent on family, friends and fun

IDEA: Why smiling makes you happy.
SOURCE: Bob Sutton

(via Life At the Bar which was emailed by Stephanie of Idealawg.)

There is now compelling evidence that smiling causes people to feel happy. Requiring people to smile, no matter how they really feel at first, results in increased positive feelings; frowning conversely decreases positive feelings. Robert Zajonc and his colleagues show that smiling leads to physiological changes in the brain that cool the blood, which in turn makes people feel happy. [A series of experiments] show that positive emotion and cooler facial temperatures result when people saying the letter “e” or the sound “ah” over and over again, apparently because making these sounds requires a smile-like expression. …

These [experiments] also show that negative emotion (and hotter facial temperatures) result from repeating sounds like the letter O or the German vowel ü, apparently because making these sounds require a frown-like expression to pronounce. This effect was found to be equally strong in both German and American research subjects. These researchers also found direct effects of temperature on emotion, demonstrating that people who have had cold air blown up their noses are happier than those who have had hot air blown up their noses. Hundreds of other studies show that hot temperatures are a powerful and reliable cause of foul moods and interpersonal conflict (especially aggression and violence).

So, if you want to be really weird, try increasing happiness (and thus creativity) by having your people say “ah, ah, ah,” “e, e ,e, e,” or perhaps saying “cheese” over and over again, blowing cold air up their noses, or just keeping the buildings cold where creative people work. Or as Jane Dutton at The University of Michigan told me after she heard Robert Zajonc talk about these ideas: “When I want to get in a good mood, I’ll just go home and stick my head in the refrigerator.”

IDEA: A website about the good things in life.
SOURCE: Stephanie West Allen of Idealawg
about DarynKagan.com. Stephanie writes:

Without identifying it as such, the article mentions confirmation bias. Because so much sensory data hits us each moment, we have to filter much out to maintain our sanity; we tend to let through that which confirms what we already believe.

“Bad things happen in the world,” Kagan says. “But I believe everyone has this life filter, this life view. We all run around collecting stories in our head to support whatever that life view is. I’m choosing to have the life view that good things are happening.

We cannot get rid of our confirmation bias but, with managed and focused attention, we can change the bias. How do you see the world? Whatever your answer to that question, you will continue to see through that lens. If you don’t like what you see, trade in your bias for a new one.

IDEA: Being good. Returning library books.
SOURCE: Man returns book overdue since 1960